Thursday, October 8, 2015

TBT - How 'bout those Redskins!

It's Throwback Thursday and I've mentioned before....

Zack at 4 months, already a Redskins fan
Zack, 4 months & already a Skins fan

We root for the Redskins.

Young Redskin fans, Redskins, Skins fan club
Zack, 2 & Sarah 3 months

Before either of them could even sit up on their own, our kids knew who to root for.

So, who do you cheer for?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A brief psychotic break

All the recent rain caused me to have a slight, brief psychotic break.

I stopped knitting and decided to create a calendar instead.

Creating my own DIY calendar & art journal
DIY Calendar

I'm an old fashioned girl and much prefer paper calendars.  I'm also crazy-picky about my calendar.  I get bored easily so it needs to be pretty, but not so pretty I'm afraid to write on it.  It needs to have lots of room to write a variety of things.  It needs to be roomy enough to hold my to-do lists, shopping lists, dreams, desires, books to read lists, knitting deadlines and of course all the normal calendary stuff like appointments, vacation days, work schedules, and of course, paydays.  I like it to be colorful, but not color coded.  Like I said, I have high expectations and I'm picky.

I also like to journal a little bit about my days.  Not Journal journal, just a few words up to a full sentence to remind me of the how the day went.  I also like to "artsy" it up a bit, except that I'm horrible at painting, drawing, and pretty much anything else that's done freehand.

It's next to impossible to find a calendar that suits me.  In the past, I've kept two.  One for the scheduling & normal calendar stuff and one for the journaling/artsy stuff.  But often, the one or two word journal entry would make much more sense if seen along with that day's "normal" calendar page.

creating my own calendar and art journal
DIY calendar

 So I decided to make my own.  I bought a cheap spiral bound art journal and began making my own.  And thus, the psychotic break.

What the hell was I thinking?  So, yeah, it's fun playing with the colors, and the YouTube videos I watched about making your own calendar/journal were inspiring, but.... Good Lord!  I worked on this project for four days straight and only got one month's worth of calendar created.  At this rate, I will finish making 2016's calendar sometime in 2035.

I think I should probably just stick to knitting.

Meanwhile, because it is October & the season of scary things...

garden spider on my front porch
Mr. Spider

Mr. Spider is still hanging out on my front porch.  No one has had the nerve or the will to remove him.  And now, since he hung out there all through the not a hurricane, but a hell of a lot of rain weeklong weather episode, I feel like he's earned the right to keep his place.  He does have some pretty brown stripes and I'm quite proud to say that, proportionally, he gained more weight eating that butterfly last week than I did during my Week Of Never Ending Rain junk food binge.  Yeah, I think I'll let him stay a while.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

TBT - Rain

Have I mentioned that it's been raining for 4,000 days straight?  Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it has rained every day for the last five or six days.  Maybe even seven.  I've lost count.  My brain is so moldy from all the rain I can't even remember when the rain started.  It feels like there was never a time when it wasn't raining.  Like there's no Before.

Anyway, it's been raining.  Of course it has.  The State Fair is in town.  It always rains during Fair Week.

But this rain has been a little different.  This has been a lot of rain, not just normal, Fair Week drizzle.  The local news has been full of reports of the flooding taking place at JMU and Va. Tech.  And this weekend, Hurricane Joaquin should make it's arrival along the Virginia Coast.  Joaquin could bring us up to ten more inches of rain.  Ten!

Ten inches of rain is what we had with Gaston.  Gaston had tractor-trailers floating down Richmond's Main Street.  Floating tractor-trailers!  Do you have any idea how much water it takes to float a tractor-trailer?  I don't, but I know it's a lot and that's what we had with Gasont.  A lot of freaking water.

And that brings me to today's TBT pictures.

Gaston flooded Richmond, VA and our home in Providence Forge
Gaston flooding, Providence Forge, VA

We had a little flooding with Gaston.  That is not a photo of the river we lived beside.  Nope, it's our road.  And if you look closely, over there on the right by the No Outlet sign, you'll see some of our belongings floating away.

Zack & Sarah canoe in Gaston's flood water in our yard
Canoeing in the yard

The one good thing about Gaston was that the kids learned how to paddle a canoe.  Again, that's our yard, not the river.  And if you look closer, just to the right of the canoe's bow, you'll see the high water mark on the telephone pole.  Yep!  The water in our yard was armpit deep on my 6'4 husband.

Ever since Gaston, I get a little skittish whenever we have a heavy rain storm.  Don't get me wrong - I love a good storm.  There's nothing much better than being safely tucked away in the warm, dry house, knitting and reading (hopefully not by candle light,) while wild weather rages outside.  I even like hurricanes.  All that wind and water and danger excites me just a bit.  Some people get their thrills from jumping from airplanes or climbing steep cliffs or even alligator wrestling.  I get my thrills watching the weather rage while knowing I'm safely tucked away inside with a nice sturdy roof over my head and soft yarn in my hands.

But this weekend has me a little more nervous than excited.  All that flood water that's up in the mountains near JMU & Va. Tech has to flow downwards.  Down toward us.  And that flood water will be arriving just about the same time Joaquin does.  And we sold the canoe a few years ago.

I can't decide which I should be more focused on as far as storm preparations go.  Should I go yarn & book shopping?  Should I go to the grocery store & stock up on water and toilet paper?  Or should I go buy another canoe?

Monday, September 28, 2015


The thing about living on the edge of the woods...

Garden spider eating a butterfly

Is that there is edge of the woods wildlife.  Wildlife such as spiders.

Ugh!  Spiders make me twitch.

I realize they are good to have because they eat the bugs, and well, I don't know why else, but ugh!  And why do they have to eat the pretty butterflies?  Why can't they eat the wasps?

This particular spider moved in a few days ago & built his web across our front porch steps.  The man of the house has been out of town and the young man of the house is a bit of a pacifist & my "Get rid of it!" pleas were answered with a shrug & a "Just don't use that door."  I've been at work all weekend and the young lady of the house won't go anywhere near the door & has decided she's not even leaving the house until Mr. Spider has moved on.  So there he hangs, eating the pretty butterflies instead of the wasps.


Have I mentioned how much I love my Etsy customers?

Knit lace hat in purple for
OTN 92/28/15

I was recently contacted by a potential client who asked about making a particular hat in a different color.  And I suddenly realized, I don't have any purple hats for adults!  Luckily, a quick trip to the yarn shop provided purple yarn and an afternoon spent binge watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix should solve the problem.

If only Netflix could solve my spider problem.

Friday, September 25, 2015

On the needles

Today on the needles,

hand knit socks in Marigold colorway, OTN 09/25/15
Marigold Socks OTN 09/25/15

More socks.  I loved my North Pole socks so much, I immediately cast on for another pair.  The yarn is Dizzie Lizzes Knitting the Blues in the Marigold colorway.  And let me tell you, Marigold is THE perfect name for this colorway.  The photo doesn't do this yarn justice.  In reality, it's a beautiful mix of yellow and dead leaf brown with just a touch of peach thrown in.  Exactly like a fresh marigold bloom.

I bought the yarn at last year's Montpelier Fiber Festival.  The  colorway is not exactly what I'd expected.  The sample sock that was displayed with the yarn showed wide stripes of color rather than single rows of color.  But no matter the stripe width, I'm happy with the knitted fabric so far.  The yarn itself is spun with Blue Faced Leicester superwash wool.  It feels a little stringy in my hand, but the knitted fabric is delightfully soft.  I have the feeling I'm going to love wearing these socks this fall.

I probably shouldn't have said that.  Putting that into words is probably a strong indication that SSS (second sock syndrome) will set in and I'll never knit the second sock.

Bike race at Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA 9/23/15
UCI Road World Championship at Kings Dominon

On a personal life note, it's been a fun week at work.  Well, okay, I had a fun day at work and tonight promises to be fun as well.  The UCI Road World Championship bike race is in Richmond this week and Wednesday's race was hosted by Kings Dominion.  The race meant I got a few unexpected, but welcome, hours in (more pay = more yarn purchases) and I got to hang out with the cyclists at the starting gate for a while.  The weather was perfect for racing and for the folks who simply came to enjoy a free visit to the park.

Halloween haunted houses, mazes and scary fun at Kings Dominon
Haunt at Kings Domion
As for tonight, Haunt starts.  Working Haunt is always fun.  Scary, but fun.  Haunt is Kings Dominion's Halloween thing with haunted houses, scary mazes and creepy monsters roaming the park.  And this year, I'm pretty dang excited.  You know how I feel about clowns, right?  Well, every year, they place a zombie clown statue between me and the bathroom & it freaks me out.  Well, this year, they have the clown facing away from the path I take.  Mr. Zombie Clown's back is to me so hopefully I'll be able to make the trip to the restroom without needing heart medication.  I'm sending a huge Thank You! out to the maintenance guys/Haunt design team for that slight change.  You've probably tacked on a few extra years to my life - or at least not removed them.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

TBT - Mom's Best Day Ever

What happens when it's TBT (Throwback Thursday) and football season?  My mom's best day, ever!

Joe Theismann from the Washington Redskins
Mom meets Joe Theismann

Have I mentioned my mom was a Redskins fan?  Actually, "fan" doesn't really describe her.  Fanatic would be more accurate.  Did I mention we had Thanksgiving dinner on a Friday one year because the Redskins were playing on Thanksgiving Day?  Have I mentioned how my mom would send me outside to play & lock the doors behind me so that I wouldn't bother her while the game was on?  Have I mentioned that while all my friends' families were having big Sunday dinners, we had cold cereal for supper on Sundays?  Have I mentioned that during the games, Mom would wear multiple Redskin pins, a Redskin baseball cap, a Redskin license plate type thing tied on string around her neck, and a Joe Theismann sweater my aunt knit?  And have I mentioned that while wearing all that, she'd sit in her chair, eyes glued to the TV screen, cigarette burning in her Redskin ashtray, a drink in her Redskins glass, all while rubbing her Redskins paper weight, coffee mug and teddy bear while shouting, "Come on boys!"  Have I mentioned coming home from a first date to find a queen sized sheet with "Hail to the Redskins" spray painted on it & nailed across our front porch?  Have I mentioned that as a younger child, my allowance was based on my attitude towards the Redskins & my willingness to shout,  "Hail to the Redskins" when ever we were out & about & saw someone else wearing maroon & gold?  Have I mentioned that once I moved out of the house, Mom always, always called me after a win & would shout, "Hail to the Redskins!" into the phone then hang up without saying another word?  It's weird, but since her death, Sundays are lonely.  Those phone calls are probably the thing I miss the most about her.

You can only imagine Mom's excitement when she got to spend a little time with Mr. Theismann during his visit to the cerebral palsy center where she worked.  Thank you Mr. Theismann for giving Mom her best day ever.  I sincerely hope you were not too traumatized by her.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blocking and baking

There's pie in the oven and pi on the mats.

simple lace pi shawl, knit with Tanis Fiber Arts Midnight lace weight merino
Simple Lace Pi Shawl

I finally got around to blocking my newest Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl late last night.  It's freaking huge!  It measures 57 inches in diameter.  It also has two spots where, well, I don't know what happened.  It looks like I dropped a stitch, but there's a live top & bottom stitch, almost like the yarn broke.  Except there's no loose, broken yarn ends.  What ever happened, it's caused two big ol' holes that I'll need to repair.  Other than that, I'm quite pleased with it.  It's large enough to fold up & wrap around my neck scarf style and light enough that I'll be able to stand to wear it folded up & wrapped around my neck scarf style.  It's also light enough to cram into my purse and big enough to use as a blanket in chilly movie theaters.  In other words, it turned out just as I'd envisioned.

If you're interested, for this Pi shawl, I used Tanis Fiber Arts Pink Label lace weight merino in the Midnight colorway.  I used almost two full skeins.  Remember me complaining about how long the bind off was taking?  It turns out, I had a pretty good reason to complain.  I started the second skein just three rows before I began the ruffle.  The ruffle used up almost an entire skein.  Did you get that? The ruffle used up almost an entire skein.  The 57 inch shawl body was knit with one skein, the less than 10 rows of ruffle used up the other skein.  Holy guacamole!  No wonder it took me a month to knit the ruffle's icord bind off.

Another interesting tid-bit....  While this photo of the shawl is horrible and the color is off, you can still see the slight color difference between the shawl's body and the ruffle.  Two skeins of the same yarn, same colorway, and purchased at the same time.  It just goes to show the unpredictability of hand dyed yarn.  I'm loving the design element that unpredictability created on my shawl though.

Yesterday was pretty productive.  Not only did I block the Pi shawl, I also finished my North Pole socks.

Regia North Pole Color hand knit socks
North Pole Socks

And yes, my left foot is that much bigger than my right.  Pretty crazy, right?

Anyway... the socks - I love them.  No I don't, I LOVE them!  They fit perfectly, they're warm as toast, thick enough for cooler temperatures but not so thick I can't get my shoes on over them, and, wait for it....  The stripes match!

Boy, Google knows me well.  I just Googled Regia North Pole Color yarn in order to provide you with a link and Google automatically took me to a Ravelry page.  In any event, the yarn was Regia North Pole Color, a machine washable wool, and I used #US 2 needles.  I'm crazy about the yarn and hope Google taking me straight to Ravelry doesn't mean that it's not made anymore.  I'd love to get my hands on a few dozen more skeins.